The Inaugural Address

Obama Administration

Here’s the text. TPM has a video.

See response from Ta-nehisi Coates

Obama’s speech is different. To some extent it exposes people to new ideas. But to a greater extent, perhaps, it shows how movements which only a few years ago were thought to be on the run have, in at least one major party, carried the day. This is not a small thing.

Update: Interesting commentary from across the pond at The Guardian.

Update: Charles Pierce approves.

The speech was a bold refutation of almost everything the Republican party has stood for over the past 40 years. It was a loud — and, for this president, damned near derisive — denouncement of all the mindless, reactionary bunkum that the Republicans have come to stand for in 2013; you could hear the sound of the punch he landed on the subject of global warming halfway to Annapolis. But the meat of the speech was a brave assertion of the power of government, not as an alien entity, but as an instrument of the collective will and desires of a self-governing people.

Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. That is our generation’s task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.

We are not free because we are individuals, the president told them, daring them to hold two ideas in their heads at a time without their brains leaking out of their ears. We are free because, as individuals we work together in the creative act of self-government to produce a viable political commonwealth in which that freedom can thrive and prosper, and the primary instrument of that commonwealth is the government we devise out of it. That government must be allowed to function. That government must be allowed to operate for this freedom to be generally achieved.

Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. For now, decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 21, 2013 @6:01 pm

    Warts and all, barring some sort of catastophe in the next 4 years, Barack Hussein Obama will go down as one of America’s greatest Presidents.

    FDR, great as he was, had his issues with race. His wife was far, far, more progressive than he was.
    And LBJ, great as he was, got us more deeply mired in Vietnam, and in the end, on top of our own dead and wounded, affected, or ended, the lives of millions in that region.
    And that “war” neatly stopped the nations progress on a whole lot of issues, allowing for right wing backlash – politically, and economically.

    Today, was historic. We reelected our first non-white President, and today, he was inaugurated.

    Obama gave a terrific Inaugural Address, tying Selma to Stonewall, and used the word “Gay” for the first time, in an address. He gave a dig to Romney and Ryan, by mentioning that we’re not a nation of ‘takers.’ And, even ‘Climate Change’ got a shout-out. YAY!

    It was a wonderful ceremony. And I cried from the time the choirs started singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” until the end of the benediction – though, I’d appreciate less ‘battles,’ and less religion and hymns.

    We have a lot to be thankful for.

    Romney and Ryan weren’t up there. Barack and Joe were.
    And, if the Republicans ‘fever’ is, to any extent, breaking, as it appears to be, it’s President Barack Hussein Obama who may prove, not only to be the cause, but the cure.

    Maybe, for too many, we are progressing too slowly. I sometimes feel that way, too.
    But, at least this President is helping us move forward.
    As MLK Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice…”
    And Barack Hussein Obama is helping it to bend in that direction.

    He, and we, have a lot of work ahead of us.
    Let’s enjoy today.
    Back to working on our future, tomorrow.

  2. Swami  •  Jan 21, 2013 @6:05 pm

    Michelle’s coat is awesome!

  3. Kateshon  •  Jan 21, 2013 @10:13 pm

    I really couldn’t be bothered to watch such pomp and circumstance. It seemed to dominate the television stations much to my dismay. Decided to get away from it and go for a hike this afternoon.

  4. maha  •  Jan 21, 2013 @10:15 pm

    It seemed to dominate the television stations much to my dismay.

    Significant moments in history will do that, most of the time. I’m sure the teevee schedule will fill up with stuff more on your level — Hoarders, Honey Boo Boo and endless episodes of Finding Bigfoot — tomorrow or the day after. Hang in there.

  5. justme277  •  Jan 22, 2013 @12:00 am

    Ok I gotta be a girl for a minute..I have been holding it in since the un- veil of Michelles new style, but I gotta get it out,,, not only was her coat to die for, Love love love the new hair and her dress did not out do the last one , but damn , she has class. I know this isn’t a fashion blog but I had to point out Michelle has got it goin’ on! And I don’t mean to appear dis- tasteful but OMG did you see the way those two looked at each other on the dance floor? Those two might accidentially set the White house on fire tonight..But then how sexy would you find your partner if they had given a speech like Obama did today?…Two more things …Anyone notice Jay-z’s long black fur coat? He looked like a pimp for the supreme court…Loved it! And speaking of the supreme’s what the hell happened to scalia’s head? Where the hell did he get that hat and who let him wear it?

    And the social media buzz about this historic day? One of the girls yawned during her Dads speech. Omg one would have thought by the response that she dropped the f’ bomb…poor child maybe she was just tired? Why are they picking on her for a natural thing the body just does sometimes?

    But then there is the other thing..Do you know about the “eye roll” Michelle gave to spray tan boy? Well it is causing a stir and it is mule fritters!(twit filter avoider) case you have not seen it what SHOULD be causing a stir is spray tan boys table manners and his manners period. Before the “eye roll” spray tan boy was trying to talk to Obama , with Michelle eating in between them. That is bad enough but then he HIT the first lady in the arm while she was eating!! On purpose!!!!!!!!!HOW DARE HE! How much disrespect can you show the first lady? I would have smiled and looked away from the camera and told him NEVER to touch me again. An eye roll was a good deal as far as I can sure beats her kicking the stuffing out of him under the table. What we should all be talking about is spray tan boy thinking it is ok to smack the first lady. She certainly didn’t think it was alright. He owes her and all who witnessed it a apology. I am OUTRAGED by his behavior. I hope the secret service NEVER allows anything like that to go un checked again. I didn’t find it cute or whimsy and it is no wonder that Michelle clearly does not like him. I am not sure if Obama saw what happened but if he did , he should have shook his head in disapproval letting spray tan boy know that is not ok and it will cost him later.

  6. maha  •  Jan 22, 2013 @10:55 am

    Justme — later I want to do a post on inaugural fashion, but I’m still looking for a photo of the FLOTUS’s Jimmy Choo shoes.

  7. Swami  •  Jan 22, 2013 @3:01 am

    Back to working on our future, tomorrow

    Yeah, Gulag. I don’t know about everybody else, but I’ve come away from Obama’s inauguration with a sense of accomplishment that I’ve really fought for America in a meaningful way in spite of my lame comments. I hope others here are understanding and enjoying that same sense, because in some small measure we have moved America forward.The pen is mightier than the assualt weapon.

  8. justme277  •  Jan 22, 2013 @3:38 am

    Hey I almost forgot to mention my home town pride and joy the Isiserettes who performed today at the parade and had the Obama family jammin’ ..These kids are really something special and they raised their own money to attend today. I was so proud of them

  9. Stella  •  Jan 22, 2013 @7:14 am

    Love, love, loved it. That was a real “power to the people” guy who just had to turn back for a last look.
    That moment was the high point for me.

  10. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 22, 2013 @7:52 am

    A pistol-packin’ Panda?
    You ARE a one-trick pony.

    And I’m sorry you couldn’t be bothered watching the Inauguration yesterday. Peaceful transfers of power every 4 years, or, after a reelection, a reaffirmation of who’s in charge, are quite boring.
    Perhaps the way other countries handle it, is more to your liking?
    I hear the Warlords in Somalia and Afghanistan have quite exciting displays of the exchange of power. Perhaps you might consider moving there? But be careful if you decide to go for a hike there, though – still some mines around, I hear.

  11. joanr16  •  Jan 22, 2013 @9:50 am

    Troll still with us, just spelled a little differently? Yay. Didn’t know the U.S. Inaugural was big in Quebec. (It’s probably not; attention just so desperately needed.)

    This morning on NPR they interviewed to some folks in Texas with the usual complaints about the “socialism” and “he never showed us his birth certificate” (seriously; that woman was a GOP official). The brain damage is widespread these days. Sigh.

    justme, that is cool! I’m still jealous of your town for the Springsteen/Obama convergence.

  12. Bill Bush  •  Jan 22, 2013 @9:52 am

    There is nothing like a good inauguration. There would have been a very very very bad inauguration if we had not supported Obama and Biden. Think how we would be feeling and what we would be looking forward to had Romney and Ryan won. For this prize of a second term not to sour, we must keep up that support and continue to call bullshit (have at it, filter, because I mean it!) on the Republican tactic of unyielding opposition. Harry Reid now needs to get back to firm ground by insisting on the talking filibuster.

    Here in NC, the new Republican governor has appointed mini-Koch Art Popo as Budget Director. The plan now is to eliminate the individual and corporate income tax and replace it with an 8% sales tax, even on groceries and medicine. A lower income person will find his entire income subject to that tax, whereas a person with more income will not spend all of it on taxables just to live, thus having the top portion of his income untaxed. How “reasonable” can you get? Or, how “regressive” do you wanna be?

    The Republicans will continue to try to soak the poor and free the rich from the constraint of paying for what they’re gettng more and more of. Simpson-Bowles is fairly good compared to their ultimate dream-goal: serfdom for us an the castle for them. Keep your torches oiled and your pitchforks sharpened.

  13. joanr16  •  Jan 22, 2013 @9:55 am

    Do you know about the “eye roll” Michelle gave to spray tan boy?

    It was hilarious, I thought.

    In the photos of the Monday presidential oath, who is the angry-looking orange woman seen directly in the middle behind President and First Lady? She is standing on Boehner’s immediate right, and honest to gosh, she could be Boehner’s fraternal twin. (Which probably means she is his wife. Blurgh.)

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 22, 2013 @11:48 am

    I just wish that at the lunch, while the POTUS, FLOTUS, and the Democrats, enjoyed what looked like a spectaculaly delicious menu, that they had given Boehner, Ryan, Cantor, and the other Republicans there, some crow with a side of sour grapes.

    Oh, and watermelon for dessert – just to p*ss them off!!!

  15. Swami  •  Jan 22, 2013 @2:44 pm

    This one goes out to the troll….Crank it up and throw away the dial.

    Sawadee krup.

  16. justme277  •  Jan 22, 2013 @2:59 pm

    Ohhhhh the shoes!!!!! Can’t wait to see the shoes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder what the romneys wore yesterday? HA!